Black and white photo effects: how Camera Raw can make pro-quality mono

Black and white photo effects: how the Camera Raw Basic tab can make pro-quality mono

Adobe introduced dedicated options for converting colour shots into black and white photography back in Photoshop CS3, but you can create eye-catching black and white photo effects in any version of Adobe Camera Raw by desaturating a colour image and then working the sliders in the Basic tab. In our latest Raw Tuesday post on using the raw format, discover how to work these sliders in a different way to produce pleasing black and white photo effects.

How to create striking black and white photo effects in Camera Raw

Be prepared to boost contrast further by increasing Exposure to brighten the highlights and increasing Blacks to deepen shadows – you can get away with a greater degree of clipping in mono shots and even use it for creative effects.

Photoshop CS3 saw the introduction of the HSL/Grayscale tab to ACR. The HSL controls enable you to alter the Hue (the actual colour value), Saturation (colour intensity) and Luminance (lightness) of a colour range, such as Reds, Oranges, Magentas and so on.

If you click the Convert to Grayscale box at the top of the HSL/Grayscale tab, you’ll see the same set of colour sliders as in HSL mode, but in Grayscale mode they control the mix of information from the red, green and blue channels in the black and white image.

Our image as it originally appeared

You’ll be familiar with this process if you’ve used Photoshop’s Channel Mixer for grayscale conversions, the Black and White dialog in CS3/CS4, or Elements’ Convert to Black and White: by lightening or darkening particular shades of grey, you can change the appearance and feel of the mono image dramatically.

Once you’ve fine-tuned the mono effect, make final adjustments with the Basic sliders.

PAGE 1: Using the Camera Raw basic tab
PAGE 2: Custom black and white photo effects for portraits
PAGE 3: Custom black and white photo effects for landscapes
PAGE 4: Custom black and white photo effects for coastal shots
PAGE 5: Common questions about black and white photo effects in Adobe Camera Raw


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